El Mago De Las Fritas has made its home in Miami on 8th street (Calle Ocho) since 1984, though it’s not the only frita place on Calle Ocho. Four of the five old school Frita Cubana Joints (El Mago de las Fritas, El Rey de las Fritas, Fritas Domino & La Palma) are on Calle Ocho.
Years ago, on my way home from my parent’s house, I came across El Mago De Las Fritas. The first few times I attempted to stop here, there were no parking spaces available (there are only three spots). You would think I would have given up, but one day I was finally able to find a parking space and eat El Mago’s magical Frita. I regret not having made an effort to hang around and find parking sooner elsewhere.
Do not park in one of the three reserved spots unless, of course, you are eating there. If you do, you might witness Ortelio aka El Mago (yes, that’s the owner’s nickname, it translates to “Magician”) make his way outside and scream at them to move their cars…with a spatula in hand!
He’s too awesome.
Once inside you must, of course, then order one of El Mago’s famous Fritas.
A Frita or Cuban Hamburger could be made up of any combination of ground beef, chorizo, pork, and spices topped with onions, homemade julienne potatoes, and ketchup (sometimes) on a roll of some sort. El Mago’s Frita is straight-up lean ground beef with spices, don’t let your palate fool you.
The Frita has a very distinct flavor and will cause a flavor explosion in your mouth. No other burger tastes anything like this. And don’t order your Frita with cheese, unless you want to look like a tourist. Fritas purists frown upon adding any cheese to the sandwich.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you the Frita Cubana with cheese is good, but nothing beats the original. You can also next level your order with a Frita Doble (double meat) or Frita a Caballo (with a fried egg).
They’re all delicious. Don’t miss out on ordering the crinkle-cut fries at El Mago de las Fritas. There’s something very high school about them. El Mago salts them for you, you just need that ketchup puddle to dip them in, and you’re good to go.
Of course, the Frita Cubana isn’t the only thing on the menu here. El Mago makes a mean Pan con Bistec (Steak Sandwich) with the julienne potatoes & onions, I add mayo. The Pan con Tortilla Calljera (Omelet Sandwich loaded with ham, cheese, julienne potatoes, and onions) is another winner.
Remember that his homemade Flan is also great, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Start with a Frita because this is one of the best Fritas in town hands down!
On Saturdays, El Mago makes Chicharrones (Fried Pork Rinds) & Ajiaco (Beef & Veggie Stew). The chicharrones are made in small batches, so I would call ahead in the morning to see what time everything is ready. On a typical Saturday, by early afternoon, they’re all gone.
All Hail El Mago: